Pope Francis touching the hearts of Americans

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - September 28, 2015 - 10:00am

For the past six days, I was glued over Cable News Network (CNN) and the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) which gave a very extensive live coverage of the historic visit by Pope Francis to the United States as he is the very first Pope to address the joint session of Congress. He did so with grace and gentle, soft-spoken humility, speaking before the most powerful people controlling the United States of America. This touched House Speaker John Boehner so much, he resigned the following day.

This is what we call the “Pope Francis effect,” which we Filipinos too experienced when Pope Francis came here last January where he braved an impending typhoon to be with the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City. Never mind that we Filipinos went gaga over Pope Francis. After all, a great majority of Filipinos are still Catholic. But the people in the United States fell under the spell of Pope Francis to the point that CNN, which doesn’t usually cover the entire Holy Mass, did so at the Holy Mass officiated by Pope Francis at the Madison Square Garden in NY.

With that live TV coverage by CNN and EWTN, thanks to Pope Francis, millions of TV viewers all over the world witnessed the Holy Mass in its entirety with all the so-called “Bells & whistles” of the Catholic Mass. This is the Pope Francis effect that did not just spread all over the United States, including the United Nations (UN) but the world! This live TV coverage of the Pope’s visit also wiped out the usual news of the ISIS terror groups or the migrants from the Middle East from the world headline news. The world only heard the Pope’s message of love, mercy and compassion.

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It’s been a long time since I went out to see a Tagalog movie because I put my standards in line with American movies and I honestly dislike Tagalog movies that deal with immorality like mistresses or “kabits” or their etiquette, which doesn’t augur well for Filipino society today. But I noticed in Facebook and Twitter that the Jerrold Tarog movie “Heneral Luna” was becoming viral on Twitter and Facebook and my family already watched this movie… so last Sunday I went to the Ayala Cinemas and watched this hit Tagalog movie and I was pleasantly surprised that it was a quality film.

Let me say it here that I fully concur with most of those who saw “Heneral Luna” that it is the best Tagalog movie that we have seen in a long time. Not only was the acting superb, this movie looked like it was not done by Filipinos, which gives us an idea that we have come a long way in making better Tagalog movies. So congratulations to Director Jerrold Tarog.

I did not want to write a postscript for the movie “Heneral Luna” because that would take more than one column. But allow me to quote Director Tarog who made a comment about “Heneral Luna” saying “The film itself is an attempt to identify the ills of our society. It is a certain disease that’s been plaguing us even before the Spaniards [and Americans] came. We have a cycle of betrayal. Hanggang ngayon nandiyan pa rin. We want to emphasize that our biggest problem is ourselves, not being colonized.”

While I do not dispute the comments of Director Tarog, his movie depicts the “Regionalism” of Filipinos… where Caviteños are quarreling against Tagalogs or Kapampangans. Indeed this is historically correct and it is a fact that Cebu was not even represented during the Malolos Convention. This is why we never achieved our goal of being one nation. When Martial Law was declared, then Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos tried to unify Filipinos using that Martial Law slogan, “Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa.”

But that slogan didn’t work either because it only confirmed our suspicions that after 400 years in the “Convent” with the Spaniards and 50 years of “Hollywood” (as the late Sir Max Soliven would often write), the Philippines today has been “colonized” by one ethnic group called Tagalogs, who like all the colonizers before them impose their language to all Filipinos all in the name of having a “One Filipino Nation.”

That idea excluded Cebuanos, Ilocanos, Bicolanos, Ilonggos and other non-Tagalog speakers. This is why the late Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew did the right thing and included all ethnic groups in Singapore as their national language. When this happens to the Philippines we just might finally attain the nationhood we have always longed for but failed to do.

Today as “Heneral Luna” have cleverly shown… our politicians have not evolved into statesmen. Worse, in this 16th Congress, some 100 Congressmen and 20 Senators have been tagged as involved in the so-called Janet Lim Napoles papers. Yet the Department of Justice hasn’t indicted them. Just like the movie, the traitors of the country who were arrested by Gen. Luna get released by Gen. Aguinaldo. So what else is new?

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Email: vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com


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